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tv   Nightly Business Report  PBS  October 15, 2012 7:00pm-7:30pm PDT

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captioning sponsored by wpbt >> this is n.b.r. >> susie: good evening, everyone. i'm susie gharib. tom is off tonight. american consumers were busy shopping in september and the nation's retailers are hoping they'll keep it up as we head into the holidays. japan's softbank dials up a deal for sprint, buying majority control of the u.s. cell company. and with nearly one-in-three americans working contract or part-time jobs. we kick off a week-long look at how a nation of freelancers is changing our labor force. that and more tonight on "n.b.r."! a u-turn on wall street today. stocks rose, rebounding from sell-offs last week. good news about the american consumer put investors in a buying mood. the dow jumped 95 points, the nasdaq rose 20 and the s&p 500 up 11. retail sales rose more than 1% in september, which was better
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than expected. it follows an even bigger gain in august and its the best back- to-back showing since 2010. erika miller has a closer look at the data and what consumers were loading up on last month. >> reporter: it seems pretty unbelievable. but a single electronic devices appears to have powered the gain in u.s. retail sales last month. if you haven't guessed it, we're talking about the iphone 5. a remarkable five million of them were sold in their first weekend alone. and that appears to have boosted electronics sales by 4.5% in september. that was the biggest increase since the iphone 4s came out in october of last year. but the gain in retail sales wasn't only because of iphone. >> if you do take iphone, we still would have had a fairly decent 0.7% gain in overall retail sales spending activity. that's a very significant pop. we haven't seen that kind of growth over the past six months
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or so. >> reporter: and sales did rise in every tail category except department stores. consumers may be feeling better about spending. thanks to higher stock prices and stabilizing home values. >> we've seen a nice improvement in the economy over the past three months and also seen a solid rebound in wage growth and that's given consumers more confidence and more discretionary spending power. >> reporter: but unemployment is still high, gasoline is more expensive now compared to a year ago. and there are still other factors that could restrain spending. >> i think just general uncertainty about the economy and what happens after the election. it's probably the number one headwind we're looking at. >> reporter: so the question remains: will the strong september spending momentum carry into the all important holiday season? it helps that consumer confidence is rising. >> households are feeling a lot more buoyant than they did last year. or at any point in the past five years. so i think that should translate into fairly decent consumer spending activity going into the
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holidays and perhaps beyond that. >> reporter: but it is clear that the iphone 5 will be a popular gift item this holiday season. an estimated 46 million are expected to be sold in the fourth quarter alone. but given their steep price tag, it could mean less money spent on other items. erika miller, "n.b.r.," new york. >> susie: while the iphone 5 was flying off store shelves in september, the outlook for consumer spending may not be as bright next year. a new survey of business economists shows the economy will need more than the apple effect to get moving. ruben ramirez reports from new york. >> reporter: next year the economy's expected to look a lot like this year with slow and tepid growth. that's according to an influential group of business economists. with g.d.p. slightly below 2% this year, the n.a.b.e. expects growth next year of around 2.5%., improving to 3% in the final quarter of next year. >> when you look at the growth for the u.s. economy since the
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turn of the great recession it has come in at roughly a trend rate of growth. we should be doing much better than trend because of all the pent up demand that was created during the downturn. >> reporter: but without job growth its hard to get people to spend. companies are expected on average to add just 155,000 jobs a month. and, the unemployment rate will likely hover just below 8%. >> although the consumer is showing a little more strength. the operational word is a little. we need to see a lot more strength and were not going to likely get that. you just don't get it without a lot of jobs, that's all there is to it. >> reporter: replacing old cars may be one place where consumers are willing to spend. the group sees car companies selling over 14 million vehicles this year and nearly 15 million next year. as the housing market continues to rebound, rising home values are helping u.s. consumers feel wealthier and more willing to spend, but their are still concerns about the global economy. >> the weakening growth in china and the recession that is
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hitting european economies is starting to have effects here in the u.s. >> reporter: here at home, there is still a lot of uncertainty over how washington will handle the fiscal cliff. more than half of the economists surveyed believe the bush-era tax cuts will be extended at least for another year. nearly 60% say they expect the social security payroll tax cut to expire at the end of this year. >> reporter: while most economists expect 2013 to look much like 2012, they say the pace of growth will likely pickup in the fourth quarter of next year, just in time for the 2013 holiday season. >> this is diane eastabrook in chicago. the temperatures are falling so why aren't gas prices falling too. i'll have details coming up. >> susie: japanese telecom giant softbank is taking control of sprint nextel. it's paying $20 billion for a 70% stake in the third largest u.s. cellular carrier.
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if the deal is approved, it will give softbank a big presence in the fast-growing u.s. telecom market. sylvia hall reports. >> reporter: right now, sprint is the third-largest u.s. wireless company. and with cash on hand from the softbank deal, it could completely change the market. sprint currently owns half of a company called clearwire, a major holder of the industry's hottest commodity-- wireless spectrum. >> it will allow sprint later on to potentially buy all of clearwire, and create a spectrum powerhouse in the u.s. that will allow it to provide unlimited data services for a much longer time than any other carrier in the u.s. >> reporter: spectrum is pretty simple. it's the radio waves use to transmit things like radio and television broadcasts, police communications and now wireless data. and demand for it exploding. an industry report shows by the end of last year, more than 111
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million smartphones and similar devices were being used in the u.s. that's up 43% from the year before. telecom expert john mayo says demand for data grew by more than 300% last year. he says smartphones use around 40 times the spectrum of traditional cell phones. tablets use around 120 times the traditional amount. but space on the airwaves is limited and right now it's getting more and more crowded. >> rather than thinking of this as us running out of spectrum, the better way to think about this is that the demands for spectrum, the demands for more spectrum, will make it more and more scarce, and unfortunately, if it continues to get more and more scarce, it will put upward pressure on the pricing of wireless services. >> reporter: the federal government has introduced initiatives that would ease congestion in cyberspace. president obama wants to shift a large amount of spectrum from places like the federal government or traditional broadcast outlets, to the private market.
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but so far, the plan largely hasn't been put to action. >> as long as there's not new spectrum coming onto the market from either incentive auctions or through a process of freeing up spectrum that has traditionally been in the public sector, firms will scramble more and more for each other's spectrum. >> reporter: the deal between sprint and softbank still has to pass regulatory muster. if it does, it's expected to close by the middle of next year. sylvia hall, "n.b.r.," washington. >> susie: the great recession has sparked a major shift in the labor market.
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the u.s. is becoming a nation of freelance workers. americans are finding new jobs, but many are not getting traditional positions with benefits. less than a decade ago, 16 million people were working independently as freelancers. today, that number has almost tripled. allison worrell begins our week- long look at the freelance nation. >> reporter: nearly one out of every three americans identify themselves as freelance workers and those jobs span all fields, from nannies to nurses, to web designers and lawyers. while it's a trend that cuts across all income levels and fields, college graduates in creative fields, are leading the charge. there's even a t.v. show about it-- m.t.v.'s "underemployed" debuts tomorrow. it features a group of 20- somethings struggling to make their mark in the professional world. a professional world, where many part-timers are still hoping for full time work. just last month, over 8.5 million americans who wanted full-time positions were stuck in part-time jobs.
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allison worrell, "n.b.r.," miami. >> susie: so what impact is the rise of freeelancers having on the economy and the way american companies do business? joining us to help answer that question, sara horowitz founder and executive director of the freelancers union and author of the new book "the freelancers bible." sara, you know, most people consider freelancers, or at least they used to as a position that you take when you're out of a job. how would you define a freelancer today, today's marketplace? >> well, i would describe freelancers as really sort of the new normal. you know, so much freelancing used to be a euphemism for being unemployed. and now this idea of what is a traditional worker and a freelancer is just becoming blurred. freelancers work part-time, in jobs and projects and gigs. and this is really how we all are coming to work.
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>> susie: you know most people still think, when they think of a regular job, they think of it as a full-time job with health care, with vacation days off w other benefits. is the whole paradigm changing? >>. >> yes, for sure. i think that what work used to be was we will have the american dream, we will work 40 hours a week, and we will have this job. and what we're starting to see that the real game changer is that american workers are starting to say wait a minute, i might want a different choice. if i'm going to have a job and i'm to the going to have benefits and i'm going to follow somebody else's dreams, well, maybe i should start to have my own dreams, work in my own way, be a microentrepreneur, a freelancer, and that this choice might actually let me sdwrous as well if not better as working traditionally. >> susie: you know, we use a lot of freelancers in our business, in the tv business. but there are just certain sectors of the economy where freelancers make sense? are you finding that this is spreading everywhere?
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>> yeah, i mean what you really saw was this trend started probably 30 years ago a lot with media and publishing. as is whereas you point out it going so strong. but what we're seeing now that's really changing is that it's going across the entire economy from very low-wage workers up through really very well trained and pretty affluent workers. and that's what is surprising here is that it's across-the-board. and i think in part what we can see is that companies really are looking for flexible workforces that they can define the job now as a project or a gig. and i think what we're going to have to do as a society is say there's something different here. we need to start rethinking some things like how we define unemployment and other things to support this new workforce and let them really flourish. >> . >> susie: but going back to the company, it's very interesting, do companies find that it is better to have freelancers. it may be more cost-effective than having full-time workers where you
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have to provide them wall the benefits. what are you finding? >> yeah, well, that's definitely true. i think that what we've seen is that there are definitely companies that set up this new workforce to not have benefits and that sort of thing. but i think again this really points to the convergence of the freelance and at that time decisional workforce. everyone in america is facing these kinds of wage de-- decreases, that's why we're seeing such a bad distribution of income. so i think freelancing has to be seen as part of that larger trend. i think companies are looking for efficiency to be able to create work in these teams and have it be more could lab rate. and freelancers understand that. they know how to be creative and entrepreneurial. but i think there are larger issues as well. >> susie: all right, we're going have to leave it there. this is a topic we'll be covering all woke long, sara horowitz of freelancers union, and as i mentioned, for more on this, for more, check out, you'll find some interesting research into workplace trends.
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click on the "nbr-u" tab. a volatile day for the oil market, crude prices dropped below $90 a barrel during the midday, but creeped back towards $92 on escalating tensions in the middle east. meanwhile, gasoline prices are still on the high side. they're up 13% year over year. but as diane eastabrook reports analysts think those unseasonably high prices will drop by the holidays. >> reporter: it's nearly a month into fall, but $4-plus gasoline in many markets sure makes it feel like the summer driving season. so what gives?
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>> the driving season: pretty healthy unfortunately and with that the unleaded gas prices were able to stay pretty high at the pump. >> reporter: standard and poor's ben toscanos offers another perspective. >> gasoline prices are driven by world wide oil prices and oil prices have been high. >> reporter: while the price for a barrel of west texas intermediate is up more than $12 since june, the price of north sea brent is up more than double that. analysts point to tensions in the mideast and continued robust demand from china for keeping crude prices high. higher global oil prices, demand, and some refinery outages have helped nudge up domestic pump prices through the fall. in the first week of october they were 44 cents a gallon higher than the same time last year. analysts thinks crude prices will eventually drop this fall as demand softens in the u.s. and europe. tsocanos believes that anticipated softening is partly reflected in the lower year over year u.s. inventories of gasoline.
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>> the potential reason inventories are so low is because the forward price for gasoline futures price is lower going out because there's not as much incentive to produce when the futures price is lower. and if the futures price for oil is lower then that would flow through to gasoline. >> reporter: while some analysts think gasoline prices could fall up to 30 cents in the next few months-- they aren't ruling out a potential spike down the road if mother nature intervenes. >> if we have a very cold winter which i do not expect and we see heating oil rally we would also see some of the refineries going much more into heating oil, leaving unleaded gas and making it so that there's even less of a supply of unleaded gas. >> reporter: and that could potentially keep $4 gas around for the holiday season. diane eastabrook, "n.b.r.," chicago. >> susie: the week kicked off with a mini rally on wall street today, giving the blue chips their best session in five. the s&p 500 gained more than 11 points to close at 1,440. a nice rebound after its biggest
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weekly drop in four months. healthcare and financials were the market's top performing sectors, both gaining more than 1%. financials were led higher by better than expected earnings from citigroup. the banking giant saw strength in its core businesses, particularly mortgage lending and a big jump in revenue from bond trading operations. citi earned $1.06 a share in the third quarter, a dime better than analysts predicted. results exclude a huge writedown tied to certain brokerage assets in its holdings unit. shares of citi climbed more than 5% to close at more than $36 a share. but the stock is still struggling to regain its footing. bank of america and goldman sachs also were big gainers today, each adding more than 3%. goldman reports its earnings tomorrow. bank of america on wedneay. over in the healthcare world, shares of eli lilly gained on word the drugmaker's experimental stomach cancer treatment may improve survival
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rates. and, the stock has been on tear, rising to a new 4.5 year high. today, it jumped 4% to $52.53 shares of abbott labs also rose on reports nearly all of the patients treated with the company's oral hepatitis-c drug have be cured in midstage trials. that encouraging news lifted the stock 4%., pushing it to an all- time high of 72 and change. meanwhile, is reportedly in advanced talks to buy the mobile chip unit of texas instruments. analysts believe a deal would strengthen amazon's supply chain and allow it to more efficiently compete against rivals apple and samsung. there is no word yet on a price. but, shares of texas instruments rose 3% today to a nearly two- month high. amazon shares ended up has well, gaining a little less than 1%. speaking of apple, the stock got a bit of its shine back today, after recently losing nearly 10%. the widely held company added $5
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a share to close at just under $635. last month, apple sparkled to an all-time high of more than $700 a share. we'll have more on apple in a few minutes. shares of sprint nextel fell a fraction today, despite news of that softbank merger deal we told you about. and, gold lost some of its luster today, after those positive reading on the u.s. economy, some on wall street believe today's retail sales report may be taking pressure off the fed's future easing plans. december gold futures dropped $22 an ounce to settle at $1,737. that erases all the gains we've seen since the fed launched its latest round of bond buying. and finally, four of the five most actively traded e.t.f.'s ended higher, while the ipath s&p 500 v.i.x. fell over 3%. that's tonight's market focus.
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google or apple? which is the better stock to own in your portfolio. that's an issue jill malandrino has been examining. she's product manager at and joins us now. tiond this is a really hot debate, jill so, as you considered many factors, google versus apple, which one did you decide on? >> i actually went with google for the long term. it's really important when you analyze these two names, this particular happens with apple is people tend to fall in love, i'm loss ug right here, people actually tend to fall in love with the product and not necessarily
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take a look at the stock from an an lit call perspective. and that's where you really need to put on your hat and take a look at all the fundamentals, technicals and what other indicators of the market are telling you. my biggest concern is when i look at these two names its product dependency with apple versus google which has multiple business lines. and full disclose you are . i own an iphone and ipad, i have all these products. i love it from a product perspective but it's almost like having coach bags. i have a hundred of them but i will short the stock if i have an opportunity to do so. i'm not saying i'm going to short apple right here but from a longer trerm perspective especially for our odd yerntion if you have a high dollar stock amount goog sell one i will look at versus apple. >> susie: let's look at the google chart it was down today. but it has been doing better it has been picking up. it closed around 741 but it has been making a comeback. and just a moment ago we were reporting about apple. let's take another look at apple's chart. apple was up today, more than $5.
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and it is at $635. it was as high as $702 a few weeks ago. so as you look at both of these, talk more through the metrics that you considered between these two stocks. >> what i love when you look at apple or google there is something there for everyone. if you are a short-term trader and you love the momentum names you could trade and make a living on these names. apple i think there is a lot of product dependency. if you look at more long-term bang for your buck, even if you want to look out to q4 going into 2013, apple definitely is going to get a bid because you're going through the holiday season and going through a couple product cycles. >> some stock analysts are talking about apple at 900 dollars, very quickly getting up to that level watch. do you think? >> right. look, 900 f it does that, going into the end of q4, good for apple. because you know what, 200 billion dollars of market cap gained and just about
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what we are, october 15th right now, in just about two and a half months is, that's a tremendous amount of market cap. i think it's something that is not necessarily sustainable in this environment. especially you're to the going into an iphone 6 or a new operating system. something like with the goog thael is monetized, the mobile ad space, everyone thought facebook would be a true competitor. it really wasn't. and google has just taken off since then. it also is the king when it comes to search. yahoo!, microsoft binge t just can't-- hold a candle next to it. >> susie: we're just going have to leave it there. any disclosures you want to make. dow own apple or google or both? >> no, i'm restricted. >> susie: you're restricted, all right. very interesting things to think about. thanks some of, jill malan dino of-- mall be drino of tomorrow on "n.b.r.," from soft drinks to high finance and toys, the earnings parade continues. we'll see results from coca- cola, goldman sachs and mattel.
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in tonight's commentary, when it comes to investing for the long- term, great minds don't always think alike. here's "fortune" magazine senior editor-at-large allan sloan. >> we like to believe that there's a collective wisdom in crowds. that's the idea underlying democracy. and crowdsourcing, and other forms of social media. but when it comes to investing, the collective wisdom of u.s. retail customers is flat wrong. stock mutual fund investors, a proxy for retail customers, typically buy at or near market peaks, and sell at or near bottoms. yes, that i know that sounds elitist. but it's true. so even as u.s. stocks hover near their all time highs set five years ago, i'm much less nervous than i would otherwise be. because investors are still net sellers of stock funds. despite being below their highs, stocks have been profitable for those of us who've bought while the u.s. investor is selling.
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in fact, wilshire associates says, if you include reinvested dividends, the u.s. market set an all time high last month. i don't know if stocks are a good buy at current prices. but there's one thing i'm sure of. bond funds, which investors are buying by the ton, are a terrible buy. interest rates are artificially low. when they rise, which they will, bond investors will get clocked. and will realize that some crowds may be wise, but it's not wise to be part of an investment crowd? i'm allan sloan. >> susie: women have been wearing chanel number 5 for almost a century.. from catherine deneuve to ali mcgraw to nicole kidman, famous women have pitched the fragrance for years. but today, the iconic perfume got a new face: brad pitt. and he's making it clear this isn't your grandma's perfume. >> every journey ends, but we go on, the world turns and we turn with it.
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>> susie: as it competes in the multi-billion dollar fragrance business, chanel is hoping pitt can help deliver big results. that's "nightly business report" for monday, october 15. i'm susie gharib. have a great evening everyone. we'll see you online at and back here tomorrow night. captioning sponsored by wpbt captioned by media access group at wgbh
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